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New Michigan Humane Society campus will strengthen the Detroit community


A few years ago while out for a bike ride our veterinarian heard a soft whimpering in a dumpster. Inside he found a tiny, very scared puppy stuffed inside a trash bag. He rescued and treated her and let us know about his find. We took her home and today Chrissy is part of our family and surrounded by constant love and attention.

Finding a puppy in discarded in a dumpster is only one of the atrocities the Michigan Humane Society (MHS) sees every day. It currently shelters nearly 15,000 of these forgotten animals each year and responds to nearly 10,000 animal cruelty and rescue calls annually. The good news is that nearly 9,000 individuals and families adopt from MHS every year.

18059As the MHS tag line says, “Someone here needs you.”

Not only is that true for neglected and abused animals. Detroit needs the Michigan Humane society to help improve the quality of life in our neighborhoods and the children who live in them and to increase public safety.

The new multi-million dollar Detroit Animal Care Campus, which will open in 2016 in Detroit’s historic North End neighborhood, will help accomplish those goals. It will remove blight, spur community involvement, help educate Detroit’s children and make Detroit safer.

Blight will be eliminated as the new campus is constructed and more will be eradicated as MHS works with the North End neighborhood to expand the cleanup. In addition, the new facility will help move plans for new housing, rail transit and a dog-friendly greenway forward more quickly. That will attract new residents.

The new facility will also expand MHS’s ability to promote the humane treatment of animals and encourage early intervention in preventing animal cruelty. There is a well-documented link between animal abuse and child abuse and domestic violence, making humane education and early intervention even more critical to our communities. This type of education can help bring families closer together, increase neighborhood involvement and change some of Detroit’s most difficult cultural issues.

MHS currently makes humane education presentations to students of all ages, civic groups, boys and girls youth organizations and other service-related group and collaborates with more than 100 partners on grassroots and community initiatives. To further that education, the new campus will play host to kid’s camps, after school programming, civic and neighborhood groups, youth groups and provide a venue for speakers and presentations.

10382742_10152348419453030_7564431956249905722_nYoung Detroiters also will learn about caring for pets from students in Michigan State University’s School of Veterinary Medicine. MHS is partnering with the university to develop the first Shelter Medicine Program in Michigan. The American Veterinary Medical Association has recently recognized Shelter Medicine as a new veterinary specialty.

This program will offer unique field experience for veterinary students, including surgery, cruelty forensics and animal behavior curriculums. Those veterinarians-in-training will get hands-on experience as well as provide much needed services to the underserved community and have the opportunity to work with the families in neighborhoods. Once exposed to Detroit it is hoped many of these students will stay here to begin their careers.

The new facility will also provide proper care for more animals, which will remove them from the streets and reduce the number of dog attacks and bites. That is a huge boon to public safety. Mayor Mike Duggan and Detroit Police Chief James Craig are big supporters of this project and see the work of the Michigan Humane Society as a key element in their public safety efforts.

To accomplish all this MHS needs a new home. It has outgrown its current facility, which it purchased in 1931. Construction of the new campus began in October and the campaign to raise dollars continues. A $15.5 million campaign was launched and so far MHS has raised more than $9 million.

Investment in the new Detroit Animal Care Campus is an investment in the future of Detroit and its ongoing transformation. It is well-positioned to help strengthen our neighborhoods, change the attitudes of our residents, deliver robust prevention programs, attract more residents and address the needs of our city’s homeless animals

The new Detroit Animal Care Campus will indeed strengthen the fabric of the Detroit community.

For more information about the campaign or to donate, call 248-283-5690 or go to

– This blog also appeared in the  Crain’s Detroit Business publication Detroit 2.0.

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